CYCLING ETIQUETTE

 

Sunday and Thursday rides are training rides not races! Group etiquette is important to maintain safety!

 

  • Ride smooth and steady all the time. No sudden, abrupt movements or over reactions to potholes, road debris, etc.

 

  • Never overlap wheels - that is one of the prime causes of accidents on rides. However, it is good practice when following a wheel to be just slightly offset, i.e. 3-5”, so that if there is a sudden stop you don’t immediately slam into the wheel ahead. The offset gives you some additional space to recover. This does not mean you overlap - you are still riding behind the person in front.

 

  • Don’t be that person who surges when it’s their turn to pull or leaves gaps in the rotation and finally never ever overlap.

 

  • When you see someone committing a ride foul politely say something. We are all responsible for the quality of our rides. But be polite and do not yell.

 

  • Never cross the yellow line. On roads without painted lines stay on one half of the road. On a 4+ lane road (2+ lanes in each direction) stay within the right-most lane and do not cross the dashed white line.

 

  • Be mindful of the pavement edge, especially on rural roads there can be a lot of gravel or ditches right by the edge. Ride 0.5 to 1.0 m away from the white line or edge of pavement.

 

  • Communication is essential to a good ride. Make sure you point to and call out hazards and traffic situations, but remember to do it in a polite way. Those in the mid-pack should pass these calls back so that everyone is aware.

 

  • Be responsible – Even if you don’t know how to change a flat, you should be prepared with the equipment and tools you need so someone can assist you. Arrive to ride locations early enough so that you are ready to go at the prescribed time. It’s unfair to a group of prepared riders to show up late and expect a large group to wait for you.

 

  • Be respectful – All of your actions reflect not only on our club, but on cyclists in general. We’ve all dealt with aggressive or careless drivers. Keep it positive and don’t lose your cool. A smile and a wave will go a long way if a driver has had to wait for the group to roll-through. Make suggestions to other riders in a positive, constructive manner.

 

Common Group Phrases

 

  • "Car Back" - warns riders in front that there is a car approaching from the rear and to single-up or move over to allow the car to safely pass.

  • "Car Up" - warns the group that there is a car approaching from the front. This is especially important on hilly or winding roads where visibility is limited.

  • "Single Up" - tells the group that riders need to be in single file.

  • "Car Left or Right" - warning riders at intersections that a car is approaching and might cross the path.

  • "Walker or Runner Up" - warning riders that there is a pedestrian on the group's side of the road

  • "Tracks" - warns of railroad tracks

  • "Hole(s)" - warning riders about dangerous (read: can cause damage or an accident) breaks in pavement. Riders can sometimes point instead of/in addition to calling the hazard, especially on roads with lots of holes.

  • "Slowing" or "Stopping" - warns riders about a change in speed. Can be done with a hand signal, but calling this is helpful, especially if a sudden/unexpected stop.

  • "On Your Left or Right" - warning riders that you are passing. Riders should always pass on the left, but if forced to pass on the right (to avoid a dangerous situation, for example) it should always be announced.

A great reference for hand signals can be found here.

 

Descents

 

During a descent, riders should spread out farther than normal, and any paceline rotation should stop. If you want to be at the front of a decent, make sure you are at the top of the hill first! Passing each other on a downhill can be very dangerous and is discouraged. The group will regroup at the end of the descent (see Regrouping, below) so there is no need to push beyond your comfort level.

Regrouping

 

  • Regrouping is necessary to ensure the pack stays tight and all riders are accounted for. If the group becomes too spread out, the ride leader can call for a regroup at the next intersection.

  • Regrouping is mandatory after all long climbs and major descents so that riders are not pushed beyond their comfort zones.

  • All riders must wait at the regrouping spot.

  • We never regroup in a manner that is unsafe or would obstruct traffic in any way. If the shoulder is too narrow, on a blind corner, or otherwise unsuitable, the group should continue until an appropriate regrouping spot is identified. All riders should pull off the road or as far to the right as possible to avoid blocking traffic.

 

 Understanding the Paceline

 

  • Keep the Pace: The number one mistake riders make is picking up speed when they get to the front. Some people want to show off; others are well intentioned but not in tune with their effort or the group pace. When riding through the line, pay attention to the group's average speed and effort. When you get to the front, do your best to maintain those levels. The goal is to keep the pack together, not blow it apart or lose riders off the back.

  • The elbow flick: When you’re leading the pace-line and riding into the wind you are using more energy than those in the group behind you. Why? Wind resistance and that means drag and eventually a little struggling. Once you’ve done your turn at the front, it’s time to drop back into the comforting draft of the peloton. But with someone right behind your wheel, you can’t just drop off without a warning. To signal you are ready to pull off, flick your elbow a few times so those behind know you are pulling off. If you’re on the right – pull off to the right, on the left pull off to the left. Once to the side the paceline will start to pull past you, just ease off the pedals a bit until you drop to the back of the line. And if you’re near the front and see the guy ahead flick his elbow, pedal steady up along the side he signaled to and take your turn at the front!

  • Soft pedal: If you feel like you're getting sucked into the rider in front of you, take a light pedal stroke or two to adjust your speed accordingly.

  • Air brake: An easy (and safe) way to trim speed is to sit up and catch some wind. It'll slow you down a notch without disrupting the rhythm of the line.

  • Feather brake: Gently squeeze the brakes while continuing to pedal. You can scrub speed while shifting up or down as needed to alter your pace.

  • Do not let your mind wander: Focusing on the wheel directly in front of you is a natural instinct when riding in a line, but it gives you zero time to react should something go awry. Keep your head up and check about 10 meters down the road. Look through holes in the leading rider—over his shoulder, under his arm or through their legs—and ride proactively instead of re-actively.

  • Ease off the gas: Rather than accelerating when you pull, try to ride in the line at a steady pace and decelerate as you pull off and drift to the back.

  • Share the workload: Pacelines are designed to share the workload, so limit your pulls to a few minutes to stay fresh and give other riders a chance.

  • Conserve energy: If you feel tired, sit out a few turns until you're ready to take another pull. Simply open a spot for riders to rejoin the line in front of you, or come to the front and immediately pull off and drift to the back. You'll do the pack a favor by staying with them rather than working yourself into the red and falling off the back, which makes the group slow down to let you catch up. 

Adapted from Bicycling Magazine: 9 Paceline Rules Tips to keep your group together and in good formation. By: Selene Yeager.

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